Last week the seedier parts of the Jew hating internet attacked this blog and me personally. One of the accusations they flung was that Israellycool (and myself) have “ “close ties” to the IDF and “functions as an outlet for its anti-Palestinian propaganda”.
They then posted a picture of myself and the outgoing IDF Spokesperson responsible for Judea and Samaria, Barak Raz.
Well Capt Raz has written a great piece in the Times of Israel that must be read. It’s (of course) much more balanced and nuanced than my simplistic views. Ignore what I say, read what he says.
The IDF is quite simply the most honourable army in the world and it’s striving all the time to be better. No other nation would have tolerated a population as belligerent as our neighbours with as much grace and understanding.
As we were driving, I noticed a Palestinian male who appeared to be in his mid-teens standing about 5 meters off the road. In the seconds that I watched him, he drew a grey pistol and aimed it at us.
Have you ever had a gun aimed at you? Because I hadn’t.
I immediately jerked the car as we made eye contact. Startled, the young man immediately disappeared into the alleyways. My heart was pounding and thousands of thoughts ran through my mind in the blink of an eye. Do I scramble out of the car and give chase? Do I fire warning shots in the air in an attempt to halt his escape? Do I drive into Huwara in an attempt to chase him down quickly? But that wasn’t all. Was he 16 or was he younger? Was it a gun or was it a toy? If it was a real gun, why didn’t he fire when he had me in his sights (mind you, I had a clear vision of the darkness inside the barrel)? If it was a toy gun and he was playing – where were his friends? Then there were the thoughts that brought me back to the many operational probes I sat through. If I scrambled after him, would LT Yehonatan know what was happening? How would he respond and what would he do? Do we leave the car together, and give chase together? Do we drive in, together, with the car? Do we split up, where I give chase and leave him behind (on foot or in the car) as backup, cover, and a way to direct the forces we called in? If I went after him (either on my own or with LT Yehonatan, either with the car or on foot) in what situation would I find myself once inside this hostile village? And what kind of response does such a situation warrant? If I responded with force in light of a perceived clear and present threat, what could have been the consequences? If I opened fire, what if I were wrong? If I held fire, what if I were wrong then? What would happen down the line if I let the apparent suspect get away?
Many questions in very little time, but two things were certain – I couldn’t ignore the situation, so some action was required, and the dilemmas facing soldiers in situations like these are endless. When backup arrived, we looked for the suspect. We came up empty handed and the day went on.
Some of us call for the IDF to be tougher on terrorists (even young stone throwing ones) but above and beyond that I have huge respect for the men and women placed in these terribly difficult and dangerous circumstances.
We cannot just pull out and end this occupation. It would result in a disaster for all Israelis and most of those Arabs who are actually desirous of peace and stability. We can’t give up any more control till we are sure we will be safe.
And very few sane people believe the current leadership on the other side can make any kind of promise we will believe.